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Thread: Newcastle Sea training School.

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    Default Newcastle Sea training School.

    Hello all.
    I have seen many items on the many Sea Schools but never anything on the Newcastle Fireman's school.

    I was there from 9 October to 27 November 1964.

    I took this photo of 4 trainees and the instructor.

    I just wonder if anyone can put a name to any of these men.

    Thank you.

    Frank Thorp.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    A bit too blurred for eyes like mine at the moment Frank. Where was this establishment. My mind jumps at the possibilities of on the river in the South Shields area , or South Gosforth where Ibelieve the MOT moved to from the old post office building in Newcastle. The only other school I was aware of in Newcastle was Nellists Nautical College in Summerhill Terrace which consisted of two houses stuck together. Run by two brothers Jackie and Billie, Jackie was the only one with any seatime as believe he did one trip as a cabin boy. Yet they took classes for Extra Master and their pass rate was way above a lot of others. However they were both dead by 1962. Maybe the brown ale had something to do with it as they were both partial to a drop of the Amber fluid. The school you mention must however have been run by the BSF. Cheers JWS
    Last edited by j.sabourn; 3rd December 2018 at 11:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    Hello there.

    My memory is not too great but I seem to think that the school was on the riverside quite close to the bridge.

    There was a class room with various pumps and other equipment and Benches, to learn how to clean the burner tips, and we were always cleaning up (imaginary) oil spillages.

    We all learned every word parrot fashion to get through the test at the end.

    I do have a larger photo on "My Ships".
    Regards.

    Frank.

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    That would be in the area of Watergate buildings not too far from the mercantile Shipping office. If sat away a few hundred yards from the river could also have been the old post office buildings a three story building , the second floor was the MOT where they conducted the exams for master and mates. The area is a lot different today. Cheers JS

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    Frank,
    I attended the Firemans School in1952.It was based on the Quay and we lived in a very basic lodging house in South Shields and took the local train in to Newcastle each day. The food was dreadful and the training course useless. Apart from the small boat drill. There were about 20 on the course divided between those who had completed National Service and those who were seeking to avoid it. With the latter group we had a typical school bully type from East Ham who had a couple of cronies. If the course has gone on for a bit longer they would have been dealt with by the ex service group in the short term they were tolerated. The course was largely useless in practicle terms because it focused exclusivly on coal burning ships ! Apart from some coasters there was very few still in existence, somebody should have told them. My fIrst ship was the CPS Beaverlake and my first trip was made as Peggy this was a steam turbine vessel, well founded and a very good feeder. My second trip was as a Wiper on the 12 to 4,I went below as a complete novice and a danger to myself and those around me. I was fortunate that help and training was provided by an ex RN stoker mechanic which enabled me to make a usefull contribution to the watch. This was followed by trips down below on the Beaverburn,Corinthic, Kenya Castle, Angelo, King James and the Empire Baltic with my last rating being Fireman Water Tender. Apart, from the small boat drill I gained nothing of any value from the Newcastle Course. As a foot note in 1996 I was in Newcastle on business and I walked down to the quay the area had been redeveloped with a new Court House etc the school building was still there but unocupied and across the road was a derelict site containing a set of rusty lifeboat davits this is all that remained of the school. About half way through the course we were taken in groups down to Blyth Coal Dock to experience a coal burner in action . This was a collier and I think that it was called SS Gaslight the fireman on watch was getting the ship ready for sea and he trimmed his own coal. The experience gave us all cause to reflect on our futures I don`t think any of us fully appreciated what a tough job firing a coal burner was.
    Last edited by John Nicholson; 23rd February 2020 at 05:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    Hello John.

    My memory of the school is not too clear now. I do remember that we had 3 weeks in the class. We were mainly taught how to
    clean and change the burners and tips. and of course there were pumps and various valves that we were assured would leak oil all over the place.
    We did go to South Shields one day to do a boat drill exercise including putting up the sail and being cold and wet.
    None of us really knew much more at the end of the 3 weeks than at the start, but it fell into place when you got your first ship.

    Luckily the days of coal burners had gone, although I had been a railway fireman before this, i was very pleased when I see the size of a ships Engine room and Boiler Room. And as for motor ships engines, some of them were like blocks of flats.

    But it was still a great period of my life.

    Frank.

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    Frank , if your still around I can commiserate with you and boilers. The only up and downer I was ever on as the ex Irish Elm. Under a different name and flag. She burnt Bunker C. The chief from Sunderland although not old was a very sick man and later died in Singapore. However he asked me for a hand in one of the boilers , which meant me getting into the back end of the boiler , this proved once and for all that I suffered from claustiphobia.. 5 minutes there and I was almost panicking to get out. However these bollers had super heating elements around the tubes and we were trying to get one of the many damaged ones out . We could only do this with the aid of a 5 ton chain block. This was my only ever practical experience of working in boilers. Engineers and firemen and indeed all E.R. Staff in those days certainly earned their money. Cheers JWS

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    Hello J W.
    We usually did a Boiler wash once a trip when we would go inside and sometimes have to scrape the tubes. It was a hot, dirty and uncomfortable job, as you can imagine but when it was done, it was done. I did a trip on the "Rhodesia Castle" in 1965. The boiler wash and other dirty jobs were done in Mombassa where we had a 4 day layover each way. There, we, (the firemen) were allocated 4 African men each to do all the hot and dirty work. These men were desperate for the work and were paid a few shillings a day. Most of them were barefoot and just wore a sack around them and they were hungry too.
    Most of the crew would treat them well, but there were one or two that would not even let them have the old dry curled up sandwiches that were thrown in the bin. I remember going up to our mess room and bringing a plate of sandwiches down for them which they shared with all their co workers. I gave one of them a can of beer as they were going off and he seemed overwhelmed. ( A bit late now, but thinking back on it now I hope that he did not get stopped on his way out).

    I preferred it to cleaning the scavengers on a Motor Ship. Although the scavengers were "job and finish' you threw what few clothes you wore away, and spent the rest of the day trying to get clean.

    Other than these two jobs it was a great life.

    Frank.

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    I was with Walter Runcimans for 11 years and all the ships were doxfords. The first one a 3 cylinder. The Engineers had to cut a cylinder of , for a passage from BA. To Japan took us 98 days. We still had the usual scavenge fires nearly every day. That was a trip and a half. I. Always even now associate scavenge fires with Doxfords many more modern engineers have claimed that it would be. Impossible to start an engine on two. Believe me it’s not. Cheers JS

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    Default Re: Newcastle Sea training School.

    Quote Originally Posted by j.sabourn View Post
    I was with Walter Runcimans for 11 years and all the ships were doxfords. The first one a 3 cylinder. The Engineers had to cut a cylinder of , for a passage from BA. To Japan took us 98 days. We still had the usual scavenge fires nearly every day. That was a trip and a half. I. Always even now associate scavenge fires with Doxfords many more modern engineers have claimed that it would be. Impossible to start an engine on two. Believe me it’s not. Cheers JS
    I was part of the team that built the prototype Doxford J (I think) type that was donated to S.Shields Marine and Tech. It was a single cylinder and started no problem. It was very quiet and you could stand a coin on it without it falling over. The residents over the road who had objected to the planning because they expected noise and vibration, never knew when it was running.

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